Apr 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell: Local coronavirus relief could be tied to limiting employer liabilities

McConnell

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico on Monday it is "highly likely" that the next coronavirus response bill will provide aid to local governments, but Congress may tie the funds to limiting employer liabilities amid workers' returns.

Why it matters: Policymakers have expressed concerns about liabilities as businesses reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark told Axios last week that employers could face massive liability concerns, calling it "a second economic risk."

  • McConnell told Politico that a proposal to limit such liabilities would be required as part of any deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • "The next pandemic coming will be the lawsuit pandemic in the wake of this one. So we need to prevent that now when we have the opportunity to do it," he said.

Between the lines: It's the latest complexity in McConnell's stance on coronavirus aid for local governments.

  • He pushed back against Democrats' efforts to include money for local governments in the most recent $484 billion round of aid, and he suggested last week that states should declare bankruptcy instead of feeding off federal aid.
  • "I’m open to additional assistance. It’s not just going to be a check, though, you get my point?" McConnell told Politico.
  • "We’re not writing a check to send down to states to allow them to, in effect, finance mistakes they’ve made unrelated to the coronavirus," he added.
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